New relationships are entrancing and consuming in both the best and worst of ways. When I was younger I would dive into a new relationship giving it everything I had. My lover was my world and I would do anything for them. Our relationship became my number one priority and everything else just fell by the wayside. Overcome with the love bug, I didn’t mind spending all of my time and effort on my budding relationships.
In my very first relationship, I became completely enveloped in my new lover. Nothing else mattered. I had no problem going above and beyond for them in order to make them happy, because seeing them happy made me happy too. I thought that by devoting myself entirely, I was paving the way for a happy and long lasting relationship.
Love is blinding. I couldn’t see the inevitable even though it was right in front of my face.
I thought my efforts would be recognized without having to ask. But when it wasn’t reciprocated, I started to become resentful. I never expressed my expectations or my reasons for getting upset. My partner couldn’t understand what changed. A total lack of communication and one-sided effort destroyed what was once a beautiful thing. That’s when I realized that I had to be more vocal about what I wanted from my relationships.
Making Your Partner Happy at the Expense of Your Own Happiness Worsens Your Relationship
Some people are just naturally nurturing, giving individuals. I give because I want my partner to be happy. My intentions are initially pure and I don’t expect much in return. But still, I do expect something.
Other people are naturally takers. They don’t mean to be, but they’re just inherently inconsiderate. It’s human instinct to be prone to laziness. If someone is offering to take care of you, you’re going to take them up on their offer. When your partner is thanklessly giving, you fall into the habit of receiving without realizing there is an issue with giving nothing back.
In an attempt to win over the taker, givers will try to give more, hoping that their partner will catch on and feel obliged to return the favor. Relationships take sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing your own interests and preferences to make your partner happy. Eventually your lovers priorities will supersede your own and you’ll find that you have no say in the relationship. You may even find that you lose interest in the things you once cared about, losing touch with who you truly are—the person that your partner supposedly fell for in the first place.
Love Is a Two Sided Equation
Think of a relationship as an equation. It takes two people. If only one person is giving, the relationship is one sided.
A one sided equation looks like this: 1+0=1
The giver is 1 while the receiver is 0. When you’re not receiving anything back, you’re in this alone.
Eventually the giver is going to get burned out. Drained of all of their resources, the one-sided relationship leaves them feeling exhausted and neglected. The taker, who is used to receiving all of the spoils may not realize that there is even an issue. This imbalance will cause toxicity in the relationship and ultimately ruin it.
A balanced relationship equation should look more like this: 1+1=2
TWO! There are two people. A healthy relationship takes both people’s effort. Two people who should be giving as well as receiving.
A healthy relationship is not always 1+1=2. If the giver starts to give more, they should also be given the same more to make the love relationship make sense. So it can be 2+2=4 or 3+3=6. As long as both people are giving each other the same and putting the same effort into the relationship, it’s a balanced one.
Creating a Equal Relationship
Your wants and needs are just as important as your partners. Having an open dialogue about your expectations for a relationship will only strengthen your bond. Just as long as your partner reciprocates. When you both understand that you both deserve an equal amount of love and respect, your relationship will flourish into a healthy partnership.
After you have established what it is that you want and expect in return, share your thoughts with your partner in a calm and reasonable manner. Encourage them to give feedback to open a balanced dialogue. Tell them what you can and cannot expect, and ask them to tell you the same.
Relationships are not all about self-sacrifice. They’re about compromise. Which does involve a level of sacrifice, but on both sides. You will gain a better understanding of each other and establish balance in the relationship. This is how you maintain the even 1+1=2 ratio.
Although you want to make your partner happy, you need to make your happiness a priority as well. If you give and give and ask for nothing in return, it will cause a poisonous trend that will eventually kill your relationship.
Communication is key. Always keep an open dialogue with your partner about what you both except from your relationship. At the end of a failed relationship, we always regret the things that we didn’t say. Forget regret and speak up as the issues arise. You can’t be afraid to communicate your concerns with your partner. If you can’t, the relationship isn’t going to work.
I learned a lot from my first relationship. Although it ended in heartbreak, I learned a very valuable lesson. I can’t be the only one who gives. And I can’t be afraid to tell my partner if I have an issue with something. It needs to be a group effort, otherwise I’m better off standing on my own.